Insufficient sleep impairs driving performance and cognitive function

Nagoya University, School of Health Sciences, 1-1-20 Daiko-minami Higashi-ku, Nagoya, Aichi 461-8673, Japan.
Neuroscience Letters (Impact Factor: 2.03). 12/2009; 469(2):229-33. DOI: 10.1016/j.neulet.2009.12.001
Source: PubMed


Cumulative sleep deprivation may increase the risk of psychiatric disorders, other disorders, and accidents. We examined the effect of insufficient sleep on cognitive function, driving performance, and cerebral blood flow in 19 healthy adults (mean age 29.2 years). All participants were in bed for 8h (sufficient sleep), and for <4h (insufficient sleep). The oxyhaemoglobin (oxyHb) level by a word fluency task was measured with a near-infrared spectroscopy recorder on the morning following sufficient and insufficient sleep periods. Wisconsin card sorting test, continuous performance test, N-back test, and driving performance were evaluated on the same days. The peak oxyHb level was significantly lower, in the left and right frontal lobes after insufficient sleep than after sufficient sleep (left: 0.25+/-0.13 vs. 0.74+/-0.33 mmol, P<0.001; right: 0.25+/-0.09 vs. 0.69+/-0.44 mmol, P<0.01). The percentage of correct responses on CPT after insufficient sleep was significantly lower than that after sufficient sleep (96.1+/-4.5 vs. 86.6+/-9.8%, P<0.05). The brake reaction time in a harsh-braking test was significantly longer after insufficient sleep than after sufficient sleep (546.2+/-23.0 vs. 478.0+/-51.2 ms, P<0.05). Whereas there were no significant correlations between decrease in oxyHb and the changes of cognitive function or driving performance between insufficient sleep and sufficient sleep. One night of insufficient sleep affects daytime cognitive function and driving performance and this was accompanied by the changes of cortical oxygenation response.

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    • "It has been shown to negatively affect multiple distinct brain processes, particularly by disrupting the integrative functioning of the prefrontal cortex, leading to overall impairments in different cognitive functions (Durmer & Dinges, 2005; Harrison & Horne, 2000). Also on a societal level, sleep deprivation has increasingly been linked to not only losses in productivity (Rosekind et al., 2010) but also work injuries (Barnes & Wagner, 2009), airline (Price & Holley, 1990) and motor vehicle accidents, as well as industrial disasters (Dinges, 1995; Miyata et al., 2010; Philip et al., 2014). The prevalence of sleep deprivation seems to be very high with 28% of U.S.-American survey respondents reporting that they sleep 6 hr or less per night, and an additional 7% indicating that they sleep 7 hr or less (Schoenborn & Adams, 2010). "
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    • "Nevertheless, performance and RTs did not differ between postures in general but only after considering subjective sleep quality in the analysis. Evidence from prior studies has clearly shown that poor sleep quality can impair the level of alertness (e.g., Miyata et al., 2010). Our study shows that lack of sleep may be compensated by arousal in an upright posture but not in the supine posture and can result in posture-specific slowed central information processing as indicated by slower RTs in the supine posture compared to the sitting posture and "
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    • "The cross-sectional design does not permit causal inferences and prospective studies are needed to confirm our findings. For instance, it is possible that insufficient sleep in HF may lead to reduced cerebral perfusion [23], though this is unlikely in this population in light of the negative effects of cerebral hypoperfusion on the brain [15]. In addition, self-report of sleep quality is limited by biases [59] and future work should use objective assessments of sleep quality (e.g., polysomnography). "
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